Good news for North Carolina’s Criminal Justice System: House Bill 379

Carolina Journal’s Kari Travis reports Gov. Roy Cooper has signed a bill into law that will being to clean up North Carolina’s criminal code.

The state has too many crimes, lawmakers and legal experts say. Hundreds of these laws are scattered across more than 140 chapters of the N.C. General Statutes. Hundreds more, created by administrative and licensing bodies, cities, towns, and metropolitan sewer districts, cause confusion as to what is — and isn’t — a crime.

House Bill 379, “Recodification Working Group,” will require state agencies, boards, and commissions to take inventory of all crimes on their respective books and report to the General Assembly by Dec. 1, 2018.

The N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts will sort through common law crimes and the general statutes, identifying redundant, inconsistent, obsolete, and unconstitutional crimes. That list would go to the legislature no later than Feb. 1, 2019.

North Carolinians deserve a transparent, understandable code, Rep. Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance, told Carolina Journal. Riddell, a primary sponsor of H.B. 379.

“The value to the individual citizens will be a stream-lined transparent and searchable criminal code that any citizen can access,” Riddell said.

“It will improve the efficiency of the entire judicial system and insure a more fair and balanced application of the law. It will protect the individual liberties and rights of every individual citizen.”

Cleaning up the criminal code in it’s current dysfunctional form is good news for accountability and shedding light on government operations. It is a step towards making North Carolina’s criminal justice system effective, efficient, and fair. Read the rest of Kari’s piece here.

The John Locke Foundation has been advocating for recodification for years, you can read some of those pieces here, here, and here.

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